1. Overview

Personal and stakeholder pensions are private pensions that you arrange yourself. You pay money into a pension fund which you use to buy a regular income when you retire.

A personal or stakeholder pension might be right for you if:

  • you want to save money for retirement on top of your workplace pension
  • you’re self-employed and don’t have access to a workplace pension scheme
  • you aren’t working but can afford to pay into a pension
  • your employer offers it as a workplace pension

You usually get tax relief on money you pay into a pension.

Sometimes employers set up group personal or stakeholder pensions for their employees.

Check that your pension scheme is registered with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax relief. Personal pension providers must also be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), stakeholder pensions with the Pensions Regulator.

You can get help with choosing the right pension scheme.

When you can get your pension

Most pension schemes set an age, usually between 60 and 65. Sometimes this can be earlier but normally you can’t get your pension before 55. The exact age depends on your arrangements with the pension provider or pension trust.

In some exceptional circumstances you can retire early.

You should contact your pension provider when you want to take your pension.